North Carolina officials are improving their understanding of the state’s defense supply chain in an effort to improve the competitiveness of its defense firms and increase their ability to absorb fluctuations in demand from the military. Last month, the state awarded the one-year-old Defense Industry Diversification Initiative (DIDI) a $3 million grant, after allocating it $2 million initially. The 10 small- and medium-sized firms enrolled in the pilot took advantage of technical assistance and market analysis and increased hiring 15 percent over an 18-month period, reported the Jacksonville Daily News. The latest award will allow 20 news firms to participate in the initiative.
“Currently North Carolina has the fourth largest military presence,” said Larry Hall, cabinet secretary for the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “But we are 25th in defense contractor awards and so we want to change that. That is part of the reason the NCDIDI initiative was put in place.”
Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy